It is always sad when a loved one dies. When that death was caused by another person’s negligence, the grief can be compounded. At Springer & Lyle, our attorneys recognize that no amount of money will substitute for losing a loved one, but you have the right to hold people accountable and deserve to be compensated for your loss.
What Does Wrongful Death Mean?
According to Texas law, a person is liable for an injury that causes another person’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act or failure to act, neglect or carelessness. The law identifies the survivors who may file a wrongful death lawsuit as:
- The spouse of the deceased.
- The biological and legally adopted children of the deceased.
- Parents of the deceased.
If none of these people have brought a lawsuit after three calendar months have passed after the death, the executor or personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of all beneficiaries unless all other survivors have asked him or her not to do so.
However, the state’s laws applicable to the statute of limitations must still be followed. As an example, the general rule (but there are always exceptions) is that a personal injury suit must be filed within two years of the date of the occurrence. When governmental agencies are involved, there will also be notice requirements under the law which must be strictly complied with. Some notice requirements are only a few months after the occurrence and if not followed, can result in a complete waiver of the claim.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
The most common occurrences we see at Springer & Lyle that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, ATV and pedestrian incidents.
- Dangerous conditions on real property.
- Dog bites and attacks.
- Use of defective products.
- Medical malpractice.
Any type of negligently caused injury that leads to a person’s death can give rise to a wrongful death claim.
Types of Damages You May be Eligible to Receive
Texas law provides for statutory beneficiaries and survivors to collect the following types of damages from the defendant:
- Cost of burial and funeral expenses.
- Medical and emergency care expenses incurred that are related to the death and due to the negligence.
- Pain and suffering the decedent suffered prior to his or her death.
- Future financial support the survivor would have received from the decedent.
- Loss of inheritance.
- Loss of care and companionship that would have been provided by the decedent.
- Mental and emotional pain suffered due to the wrongful death.
If the death was caused by the gross negligence or egregious act of the defendant, the survivors may be entitled to additional, punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed for the purpose of punishing the defendant and deterring them from similar conduct in the future.
The personal injury attorneys at Springer & Lyle can help you obtain the reasonable compensation you are entitled for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact us online or call us at 940.387.0404 for a free consultation.